RETAILERS are refusing to accept plastic money opting for cash instead as a method of payment for cooking oil amid delays in making foreign payments for the imported product.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
In a snap survey conducted by NewsDay in the central business district, small shops were not allowing customers to use bank cards to purchase cooking oil.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu said several customers called him to complain about this practice.
“I am currently engaging the cooking oil suppliers to find out if indeed there is that directive, as some few shops have put up notices,” he said.
Among the shops found to be demanding cash only for cooking oil was Mohammed Mussa Wholesalers, Metro Peech Bulawayo and some Choppies stores.
NewsDay found from the snap survey that the notices mentioned by Mutashu cited oil manufacturers demanding cash, as the reason behind asking customers to pay in cash when purchasing cooking oil.
Oil Expressers’ Association of Zimbabwe representative and Pure Drop cooking oil, chief executive officer, Sylvester Mangani denied the claims.
“There is no problem with the cooking oil sector and I think you should direct your questions to them (retailers). As long as they have our cooking oil, whatever they are doing with it, is something they can explain. If you go to OK or TM Pick N Pay they pay using the real time gross settlement (RTGS) system,” he said.
“There are some retailers, who pay us in cash, but generally they pay using RTGS. We do accept RTGS payments. We encourage retailers to pay in cash because we can repatriate cash, but there is no pressure on them to do that.”
Back in September, to avoid delays in foreign payments for crude oil, the Reserve Bank issued Exchange Control Circular No. 5 of 2016, where cash payments were to be made for crude oil, which was later ignored.
Mangani said the reason why they were not doing this anymore was due to a decline in sales, as a result of the on-going liquidity constraints.
Central bank governor, John Mangudya said, earlier this month, they had experienced challenges in making foreign payments for cooking oil, as it is a non-exporting commodity that demands a lot of cash.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director, Rosemary Siyachitema said they had not heard any complaints and were currently investigating which shops were doing this.
Cooking oil shortages forced the central bank, two weeks ago, to provide $5 million to the sector from the sale of gold to allow operators to pay for supplies of crude oil which is not produced locally.